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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.22 no.2 Pretoria  2009


The shepherd imagery in Zechariah 9-141



D. F. O'Kennedy

University of Stellenbosch





The shepherd image emphasises the shepherd's role as leader, provider and protector. In Zechariah 1-8 one finds references to specific leaders, for example king Darius, the high priest Joshua and the governor Zerubbabel. Zechariah 9-14 has no reference to a specific leader. On the contrary, one finds 14 occurrences of the shepherd image as a reference to God or earthly leaders (civil and religious). The question posed by this article is: Which different perspectives are portrayed by this image? The use of the shepherd image in Zechariah 9-14 cannot be restricted to one perspective or meaning like in some Biblical passages (cf. Ps 23). The following perspectives are discussed: God as the good shepherd (Zech 9:16; 10:3b, 8); the prophet as shepherd (11:4-14); the three bad shepherds (11:8); the worthless shepherd, who deserts his flock (11:15-17); God's shepherd, his associate (13:7-9) and even a viewpoint that God is indirectly portrayed as an "uncaring shepherd" (cf. 11:4-17).



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D. F. O'Kennedy
Department of Old and New Testament
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602



1 A shorter version of this article was delivered as a paper at the SBL International Meeting in Rome, Italy (June 30-July 4, 2009).

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